Fall From Grace

We worked at Busch Gardens and saw each other often at the Festhaus. Freyja enchanted me from the beginning. Twenty years old, short blonde hair, bright blue eyes, pale skin, red lips, cherry cheeks: a petite Teutonic Goddess. Freyja worked as a server, while I delivered food and dry goods from the food service warehouse. We were on smiling terms but not much else, although she seemed to linger when I made deliveries. Working at the Festhaus was appropriate: Freyja was German. The blue and white dirndl she wore gave her an innocent, sweet, farm girl look. Except for the blouse, and the way the dirndl squeezed and lifted and pushed out her mouthwatering beautiful, perfect, round breasts: that was anything but innocent. If eyes could make babies, I would have been the father of triplets within a year.

One day, I delivered to the Festhaus a large quantity of pies still warm from the bakery. Freyja was receiving deliveries in the kitchen when I arrived. My heart skipped a beat when I saw her and a broad smile filled my face. I know my eyes sparkled. Freyja smiled, too, and her eyes fairly twinkled as she looked over the pies, selected one and removed the plastic-wrap, ran a finger through the pie and poked her finger into my mouth. God, the world disappeared as our eyes locked together and I closed my lips around her blueberry-clad finger. I nearly exploded like a missile silo ejecting a nuclear warhead. The sly grin on Freyja’s lips and the look of pure glee on her beautiful face, surrounded by an ambient golden glow, nearly made my knees buckle. My heart leaped with giddiness and I felt the first, tentative brush of love.

We began dating that day. Freyja gave my heart new life and a thrill that had been missing since my Spanish first love, Susanna, had died two years earlier while I was stationed in Spain. Freyja loved horses and taught me to ride; I loved the ocean and road trips, and drove her to all the beaches on Florida’s west coast. We supped at my parent’s house often and they loved her and were happy for me, and excited that maybe, just maybe, their only son might bring them grandchildren someday soon. I was deeply, madly, completely in love with Freyja and her touch, her smell, her laugh, her taste, her feel. Her body was a perfect fit for my arms, her weight just right for my chest, her passion matched my yearning, and her love swallowed me.

But Freyja’s life was a station above mine, and her parent’s subtle remarks intended to remind and hurt. I came from the working-class side of town while Freyja’s older sister wore the mantle of debutante. That wasn’t Freyja, who had no airs about her, but her family who had an image to protect. I felt the sting of constant put-downs and reminders that I was small and unworthy; that my father worked as a security guard while theirs played at executive; moneyed and golden-hued versus poor and uniform-clad – oil and water in this high society-conscious clique.

I felt the dislike, the disdain, the emotional coldness that emanated from their pores and their cars, and the pool, the horses, the china, the gallery with the polished wood, and the stainless-steel Messermeister kitchen. The Thanksgiving dinner Freyja’s parents deigned to let me attend; the passing of the coffee, and the offer of sugar and spoon; the low-class faux pas of stirring the coffee with the sugar spoon. The look of upper-class horror from parents and sister and sister’s boyfriend, whose name was probably Biff, and the look of sorrowful embarrassment from Freyja and the sense of shame that descended over me like a shroud and the hot, red hot, embarrassment and no hole to crawl into and hide, and the sudden, world-shaking revelation that in these people’s eyes I should have been standing behind their chairs, waiting on them and serving them from the right and clearing from the left and wiping their shoes and their snotty noses with the back of my hand across their goddamn faces.

Freyja, Freyja, Freyja, my supernova, my exploding star, my night light, my soul and my laugh and my tears and my smile and my release and my Angel sent from God. And I, I, nothing more than a pimple on the ass of the world.

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